Thursday, January 29, 2009

Martha's Sunrise

The Spirit's primary work is in guiding us into God's plan for our lives. I saw the Spirit work in this way in Martha. Martha, age thirty-five and a believer in Christ, was suffering from deep emotional pain. During a counseling session, I asked the lord to bring to light the lies Satan had hidden in her inner being. As I prayed, the Lord brought several lies to Martha's mind. "I believe I am really evil," she soon noted. I showed her then what God actually says about her. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). Martha thought about this and said, "Then according to the Bible I am washed clean." The next lie the Holy Spirit brought to her mind was "God can never love me because I am so awful." I then read the wonderful truth, "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19). Her eyes lit up as the truth of God's love for her sank into her heart. A third lie soon came to mind: "I can never change: I will always be sinful, dirty, and awful." At this time I personalized 2 Corinthians's 5:17 for Martha: "Therefore, if Martha be in Christ, she is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things for Martha have become new." I must start acting on the truth that I am a new person in Christ." Martha said. I continued to pray that the Lord would reveal the enemy's lies, and even more were revealed. It was all most as if we were in Sunday school and I was asking a class of children these questions. Except in this case, my class was one, Martha, and not a little child but an adult. And yet, as she sought the truth through the Holy Spirit, the truth shone through in that way Jesus spoke of when He said, "Unless you...become as little children, you will by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). As we explored the lies that were more deeply ingrained in Martha's thought processes, she said, "If I serve the Lord, I will never be able to serve people because they will become idols to me." The Lord destroyed this lie through Ephesians 2:10: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." "So a true servant worships God, and part of that worship involves serving people," Martha replied. The last lie the Lord showed her was "I can't face truth because it hurts too much." A number of Scriptures served here, but I read John 8:32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. It was as if a sunrise suddenly appeared to someone on as desert island. The pain simply melted out of Martha's heart, and she began to reveal the real nature of what she'd endured. She had been abused beyond description by her parents and siblings. Amazingly, despite the sin in this household, Martha was taken to church every Sunday. During that time, Martha would often pray, "Please, God make my family stop hurting me." Yet the most severe physical and sexual abuse would take place on Sunday afternoons, after attending church. Part of Martha loved God and part despised Him. Martha would hear the pastor preach on answered prayer, but then the enemy would whisper, "God doesn't answer your prayer, now, does He?" Another sermon explained the "peace that passes all understanding," Martha would cry out for such peace, but when it didn't come Satan seemed to say, "You will never have this peace, only pain, because God hates you." Still a later sermon title was "God Can Get You Out of Any Problem." Satan loved this sermon; he said, "Anybody but you, Martha, because you are not worth it." During counseling, I looked with Martha at Scriptures that described God's good plan to have His children serve Him because He loves and accepts them. Knowing the truths that God makes no mistakes and uses all things for our good (Isaiah 40:10; Romans 8:28-29) sets a person free from the past. It frees him or her to walk confidently in the present. Maratha is now able to search the Scriptures on her own, and often the Lord gives her special insights. Several times she has explained a passage to me in ways that no one had ever been able to. I often marvel at the wisdom the Holy Spirit gives her through His Word. The guidance of the Holy Spirit gives us confidence, and His teaching in truth makes our lives truly worth living. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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